The City Council of Naples adopted its first ethics code in August 1998 which was administered directly by City Council and the City Manager. In 2017, a local organization, Ethics Naples, proposed an Ethics Commission be created, arguing that some independence from City government and the availability of specific expertise and resources would result in an improved ethics administration.
After meeting the requirements for placing such a referendum petition on the ballot by collecting signatures from 10% of the City’s voters, the City Council in 2018 refused to place the matter before the voters and sued Ethics Naples in Court, alleging major defects in the petition. The City lost the case, appealed the judgment, and in 2020 lost again in the District Court of Appeals, allowing the matter to be placed on the ballot.
The City of Naples “Commission on Ethics and Governmental Integrity” was then created in August 2020, after 62% of the voters of the City approved the referendum. In November 2020, the first 5 Commissioners were seated and began the process of forming the Commission. Over the next 6 months Commissioners created a substantially revised and amended Ethics Code, began the lengthy process of drafting the Commission’s policies and procedures, engaged General Counsel and hired their first Executive Director to lead the Ethics Office.
City Council was keenly interested in an improved Ethics Code, and in meetings with representatives from the Commission in May and August of 2021 suggested improvements to the proposed Code, leading to its approval by City Council in September 2021.
The Commission has established important new aspects of ethics administration in Naples, including an independent Commission to adjudicate ethics matters, regular training of all employees and officials, options for ethics advice and opinions, the availability of the Ethics Director for any and all general ethics questions and this website to facilitate public interaction and information gathering.